Masters degrees in Critical Care Nursing train postgraduates in the skills to assess, manage and monitor the provision of care given to critically ill patients, and to administer treatment.
Related postgraduate specialisms include Emergency Nursing, Acute & Critical Care and Trauma Sciences. Entry requirements typically include an undergraduate degree in a relevant field such as Nursing, Midwifery or Medicine.
Nurses who specialise in Critical Care will often find themselves working in fast-paced, demanding environments, helping in emergency situations and working on wards where patients have suffered serious, traumatic injuries. You will be trained to provide care to patients who are critically ill or unstable following injury, surgery and life-threatening disease.
Critical Care involves helping a wide range of patients – infants, children, adults and the elderly – in burn units, intensive care and trauma centres. As such, courses in this field often combine interdisciplinary approaches such as evidence-based practice with theoretical examination of current research and policy within healthcare.
Clinical settings are typical for critical care nurses, but you may also find work within rehabilitation centres, nursing homes or charities.
The PGCert Advanced Critical Care is designed to enhance the skills of practitioners such as registered nurses and operating department practitioners. It will enable you to become a clinical expert who is able to work safely and effectively in critical care practice, meeting the Step Two and Step Three competencies of the National Competency Framework for adult critical care nurses. A systems-based approach is used throughout the course to reflect the national standards for adult critical care education. You will acquire effective leadership skills and gain the skills and confidence needed to develop others in the delivery of high quality and compassionate care to patients with complex critical care needs.
The programme comprises of two modules which are studied sequentially.
You will begin by focusing on the assessment and management of patients following emergency events which have led to admission to a critical care environment. You will then concentrate specifically upon the development of effective leadership within a critical care environment.
The intention is to develop a practitioner who provides clinical nursing leadership, supervision and support to teams to optimise safe standards of patient care.
There will typically be ten days of face-to-face learning, covering the theoretical aspects of the programme, per module. This will take the form of a combination of lectures, seminars, simulation-based learning, objective structure clinical examinations (OSCE) workshops and tutorials.
The programme also includes a significant proportion of work-based learning during which you will be supported and assessed by a clinical mentor.
You will be assessed through a combination of written examinations, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), written assessments and practice-based competency achievements.
The programme team comprises of front line clinicians from Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital and academic experts from Edge Hill University. The research activities and educational roles of the programme team are varied and link to both theory and practice. A range of nationally and internationally recognised clinical experts will also be drawn upon to inform and enhance the learning experience.
Successful completion of this programme will enhance your ability to provide expert care, clinical nursing leadership and effective supervision. It is designed to support practitioners in working towards the role of advanced practitioner to address patient needs in the clinical contexts of critical care.
You will study the assessment and nursing management of acute childhood illness. This will involve the study of the disease processes including altered physiology of respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, renal/metabolic and immune systems, during the acute illness phase. This will include • pain management • alternative airway management and principles of stabilisation • techniques and specialist care relating to conditions which require critical and intensive care nursing.
You also explore the role of the multi-disciplinary team, including breaking bad news, sibling and family care and palliative care.
In addition, you cover ethical concerns and the legal implications of nursing children in acute and critical care situations, alongside stress management and professional development issues.
The course content will be delivered through face-to-face contact, clinical skill simulation and online learning packages including webinars, e-lectures, discussion boards and online group work.
You also take two elective modules.
Core modules (blended learning)
You also take two elective distance learning modules
7HW074 Applied Specialist Nursing Practice)
(September to May – year long)
This year long module provides an opportunity to demonstrate your professional
practice and an ability to manage the care of a patient experiencing an episode of critical illness; this will be evidenced through assessment of competency and a reflective portfolio.
Module content includes:
Searching, interpreting and applying evidence to inform practice; Practice
development; reflective analysis; portfolio development.
1. 10 specialist practice outcomes* whilst continuing to work in your normal
practice setting (Pass/Refer)
*you will require a practice mentor to assess
2. A reflective portfolio of evidence (100%) which supports your competency
Applied Specialist Nursing Theory (7HW072) (September to January - Semester 1)
You will study anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, assessment, monitoring and therapeutic interventions relating to a variety of areas relevant to the care of the critically ill patient. You will evaluate guidelines and evidence relating to the management of critical illness.
Module content includes:
The context and development of critical care services, applied physiology of respiratory, cardiac, renal and gastrointestinal systems; non-invasive ventilatory support, nutritional support and metabolic disorder. Maintaining patient safety as a fundamental aspect of care will be addressed as a theme throughout the module along with communication skills and infection control measures.
A case study (100%) detailing a coordinated approach to care for an individual experiencing an episode of critical illness.
Applied Specialist Nursing Theory (7HW073)
(January to May - Semester 2)
You will focus on managing care of critically ill (level 3), patients and will evaluate guidelines and evidence underpinning methods of assessment and therapeutic intervention.
Module content includes:
Applied physiology and assessment of the nervous system; shock and haemodynamic monitoring; mechanical ventilation; management of acute renal failure; sedation, delirium and pain management; psychological effects of critical illness for the patient and family. Patient safety, communication and infection control issues will continue as themes throughout this module.
This Advanced Clinical Practice Masters provides an academic underpinning that meets the contemporary challenges of advanced clinical practice.
This is a pathway through the MSc Advanced Clinical Practice which enables the successful student to apply for associate membership with the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) as an Advanced Critical Care Practitioner.
The aim of the programme is to support your ongoing development as a knowledgeable and skilful practitioner in your specialist area. On successful completion of this award you will be enabled to assume a leading role in the provision of high quality, evidence based health and social care which is underpinned by a robust and scientific theoretical knowledge base.
In the MSc Advanced Clinical Practice (Advanced Critical Care Practitioner) you will: